Austria to ban poker outside of casinos

Gaming corporation Casinos Austria has welcomed a government plan to ban poker games outside of casinos - but has lamented the fact that the ban won’t be introduced until 2020.

Austria to ban poker outside of casinos
Photo: Wikimedia/Todd Klassy

In a statement, Casinos Austria said it wanted the ban to be introduced in 2017.

The Austrian Finance Ministry’s latest tax reform will seriously limit options for gamblers.

Legislators intend to limit poker operating to licenced operators such as casinos, electronic lotteries like win2day and WINWIN machine operators.

So-called 'Wirtshauspoker', or pub poker, will still be allowed – so long as the games are only held every quarter and limited to a maximum 100 players, who play for no more than €10 per person. 

Casinos Austria welcomed the end of existing poker halls such as Concord Card Casinos (CCC).

The Austrian betting and gambling company – which is one of the largest casino operators in the world – said it would also like to see the state prosecute illegal operators with more force.

Austria has made efforts to curb excessive gambling, by restructuring the online gambling market. However, its restrictive gambling regulations have frustrated operators and has led to some gambling firms having to repay large sums to problem gamblers.

Last year the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled against Austrian gaming laws as being inconsistent with European law. It also stated that Austrian gaming law was applied inconsistently and that the country’s licensing requirements focused more on collecting taxes and reducing gambling than protecting players.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Spain to force gamblers to set time and spending limit before playing online

The Spanish government wants to limit the amount of time and money gamblers spend on online betting and gambling platforms by making them set limits before they start playing. 

Spain to force gamblers to set time and spending limit before playing online

This is the proposal in the latest draft decree of Spain’s General Directorate of Gambling which could be approved at the end of 2021 or early 2022.

Under the new rules, people who play online games such as bingo, roulette, black jack, baccarat and virtual fruit machines would have to first set how much money they intend to gamble and how long they intend to play. 

Whichever of the two limits runs out first would end the gambling session. 

If the law is approved, online gamblers in Spain will still be able to start another session straight afterwards, as the objective of the law is to help prevent players from losing control over what they’re spending and to give them a break to let the adrenaline rush drop and a moment to reconsider their options. 

In any case, online gamblers in Spain would have a daily spending limit of €600 or €1,500 a week if the draft law is approved.

With this clause, lawmakers hope to distinguish “serious” gamblers – those who surpass the 50 percent daily limit of €300 – from those who don’t play online as regularly. 

Once an online gambler was classified as “serious” (intensivo), they would not be allowed to pay for their gambling sessions with a credit card in order to prevent them from piling up debt. 

Spanish authorities are particularly concerned about the increasing number of young people who are becoming addicted to gambling and betting sites, often lured in by the promise of free bets when signing up.  

A 2019 report by Spain’s Federation of Rehabilitated Gamblers found that Spain has the highest rate of young gamblers (aged 14 to 21) in the EU. 

READ MORE: Spain has Europe’s highest rate of teen gamblers

The pandemic, including the lockdowns, restrictions and boredom that have come with it, have only served to intensify the trend. 

The average annual spending per player in Spain went from €312 in 2016 to €533 in 2020.

Under the new rules, young people would be considered “serious” gamblers if they spent 25 percent of the limits set: €150 for two days in a row, or €375 over the course of two weeks. 

More than 8.5 percent of online gamblers in Spain (of the 1.5 million total of active players) do not reach the mentioned levels that signal addiction.